After a Saturday full of fundraising and musical shenanigans over in Elsecar, Sunday was the turn of Dodworth to hold their own charity music extravaganza in the form of the Dodworth and District Miners Memorial Fund Festival. Catchy title aside; the event organised by Soundwave and Indiemand (Mark Oats and Ryan Thompson) is another chance to see quality local talent and to dip your hands in your wallets to help a worthy cause.
Originally planned to take place on the sports fields outside of the Dodworth Miners Welfare, the now waterlogged fields meant that both stages had to be moved into the club’s lounge and taproom. Although Alt.Barnsley couldn’t stay the full duration, we did manage to take in a lot of acts and here a just a selection of the ones we caught.
And so as the smell of frying burgers pierced the damp air; soggy folk flocked into the taproom to catch the opening act, K.B.E. Opening with a surf rock instrumental that sounded like it could have been a cover of the Russian folk song Korobeiniki (also know at the theme of Tetris). Their set which fused mod and the heavier end of indie was refreshing and anthemic and a great way to start the day. On the Acoustic Stage, curated by One Over the Eight, is THE BAR-STEWARD SONS OF VAL DOONICAN, who started their set by playing to just a handful of people. However, by mid-set, K.B.E. had finished their set allowing for a bigger audience and the wise choice of ending on Darn Tarn and Arse Is On Fire had the audience laughing; especially the ones munching away on their curries.
Two bands which were a real joy and a pleasant surprise to watch were the young and talented Exit Strategy and Northern Way. The first up, EXIT STRATEGY, describe themselves as ‘prog punk’ and with a lead singer/guitarist prone to spending just as much time playing in the crowd as he does on stage, they certainly have the attitude. Although sometimes a little shambolic, the band are exciting and likable and certainly have a pocketful of well written songs in the vein of Blink 182 and All Time Low; and in their singer a vocal that is perfectly fitting for that genre. They end their set on a high with a cover of Nirvana’s Breed. Next up are NORTHERN WAY and they kick things off with a very well done and faithful cover of Fake Tales of San Francisco. These guys must not be any older than sixteen but in Tom Hale, they have front man who sings and plays like he’s been doing it for years; he is modest and likable and is definitely one to watch in the future. Living in a Dream sounds like their own composition and leans more towards an Oasis style but the band are at their best when throwing down angular, punky riffs and understated northern swagger and it’s their song High as a Kite that slots perfectly in the middle of a set laden with classics by Arctic Monkeys and The Undertones.
Over in the acoustic lounge, INVISIBLE GREASE impress with a short set of covers (Pictures of Matchstick Men) and their own songs which come over as a mix between the guitar and lyrical rhythms of both The Libertines and more traditional comedy folk. And with the genius that is rhyming ‘freezer’ with ‘please her’ and ‘gravy’ with ‘baby, their Sausage Song is a sure fire future classic.
KIZIAH AND THE KINGS hits the main stage like a breath of fresh air; in a town that is swamped with indie and metal, having the chance to see a band that fuse funk and soul with jaunty indie guitar is one not to be missed. A set full of their own beautifully crafted songs such as the fantastic Baby Don’t Go is balanced perfectly with covers American Boy and classics such as Heard It Through the Grapevine and Proud Mary. They went down extremely well and they’ll be welcome back to Barnsley anytime they please.
Up next was Barnsley’s austerity king of punk poetry MARK JACKSON’S CRIMINAL WASTE OF TALENT. Mark’s short set of songs about pasties, being dumped by text, having a very bad day and shed-based machismo is backed by guitarist Steve Dalton who is one minute thrashing out a The Fall-like cacophony of mess and the next, shoe gaze on a shoe string psychedelia. However, playing to an almost totally unfamiliar crowd leaves half bedazzled and half bewildered.
Someone who isn’t unfamiliar round these parts is event organiser Mark Oats and here he performed with his band THE GLAVINS in a semi-unplugged set comprising of acoustic guitars, a cajon (that’s the percussion box for those that don’t know) and a whole manner of flanger and phaser effects. Vocalist Carl Stott is a traditional indie singer in the same vein as a more subtle Gallagher or Brown and he does it well and with the addition of Sameer on cajon, the set was inventive and full of eastern folk and Indian influences; reminiscent of The Stone Roses and The Beatles. Admittedly, I was unfamiliar with the band’s music prior to this set but now I’ll be making sure I catch more of them.
The last time I saw BLACK ECHO I was a little indifferent about their set. Here however, and this is despite a faulty microphone that made Terry’s voice sound shot, I enjoyed them much more. I admit I prefer guitarist Tom’s growl of a vocal compared to Terry’s as I have never been a fan of that over-emotional vocal that you seen in the more ‘emo’ leaning post-hardcore bands. However, their songs and their anthemic choruses are known to a good section of the crowd and got some good singalongs and even bad dancers. Breathe Out and Stars were definite set highlights.
The last band I saw were MAJORITY VOTE who played a set much improved on their last one over at Rocketball in May. The band was visibly enjoying themselves and that showed in their high-energy set of grunge tinged punk. Emily took lead vocals of a ramshackled and fun version of The Subways’ Rock N Roll Queen and although it is the songs from the Playtime’s Over EP that usually stand out as the best songs in the set; here Dia De Los Muetos is real highlight and matches the might of Clarity, their finest song to date.
Many other bands played the festival that I didn’t get chance to see but regardless of that, I had a fantastic time and judging from the great turnout, it sure looks like they made a lot of money for their charity.
And that is end of the start of what looks like a great festival season in Barnsley. Over the summer months we have BOMfest, Coalfields festival, the debut of Shindig Festival and also the Elsecar MADFEST folk festival. There will be many smaller festivals also taking place in town and we’ll be there to cover many of them.
Hit the following links to get more infomation on the bands:
The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican official website
Kiziah and the Kings facebook page
Mark Jackson’s Criminal Waste of Talent facebook page
Black Echo official myspace page